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Three things to watch for: New York City FC vs. Chicago Fire


Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
  1. NYCFC can’t concede an opening goal again and expect to win. Not against this team. Wednesday’s draw vs. Toronto was the fifth time in six games that the Bronx Blues have conceded first. That’s a stunning stat — perhaps it’s more stunning that they’ve lost just one of those five — but the Fire have far too much, erhm, firepower to be staked a cheap opener right out of the gate. They’re bringing the best goal differential in MLS and multiple MVP candidates with them to Yankee Stadium on Saturday. Constantly playing from behind is finally catching up with New York City; if they blink first, it could be a painful afternoon.
  2. Homeboys and Road Warriors: New York City hasn’t lost at home since April 23rd. Chicago hasn’t lost away since April 29th. In fact, Veljko Paunović’s side is straight-up undefeated in league play since then. Something’s gotta give, folks.
  3. Friends don’t let friends make defensive subs. Seriously, this shit has got to stop. It’s one thing to make a like-for-like change if one of your center backs takes a knock, but removing a midfielder or attacking player in exchange for an extra defender in the interest of protecting a one-goal lead is something that NYCFC should literally never do. It almost always backfires! For two straight games, the Blues had a win in their sights and attempted to stop attacking and clamp down in the late going. Both times, they gave up the lead to opponents more than willing to play the part of the aggressor and utterly dictate terms from sideline to sideline. There’s a better way to seal up a result: score another damn goal. The prevent defense doesn’t work on the gridiron... why does Patrick Vieira assume that it will work here? Chicago is certain to make you pay if you switch some kind of ridiculous 5-3-1 in the closing minutes.